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Friday, January 12, 2018

ACC Staff Open Semester with Convocation

When Dr. Bennie Lambert failed to get into Baylor University after graduating high school, his grandmother dragged him to a local community college on the first day of class.

She wanted him to get an education beyond high school and it didn’t matter whether it was a university or not, he said. But after spending time taking courses at the community college, Lambert eventually did transfer to Baylor where he earned a Bachelor’s degree. He would eventually go on to earn a doctorate degree.

“I didn’t get anywhere by myself,” he said. “She made the difference.”

Schools like Alvin Community College serve an important role in higher education, said Lambert, who delivered the keynote speech at the Spring 2018 Convocation.

“If the conditions are right,” he said. “If the resources are there, there’s very little that we can’t learn.”

Lambert spoke about his experiences in education as well as discussed methods about strategic enrollment management.

“You get what you focus on,” he said. “We try to be all things to all people,” in order to drive up enrollment.

Student recruitment can attract students to a college and can include several different elements aside from the quality of education such as campus tours, regulating class sizes, increasing parking, offering better food in a cafeteria or simply maintaining a clean campus.

“There’s many little things you can do to help bring students to your college,” he said. “You want people to remember your brand. Promote your strengths.”

Schools can also increase student success through retention. The best method for this is through personal contact with students who are struggling in class whether it’s e-mail or calling them.

Faculty in particular have a better chance of getting through to students, he said.

“In most cases, it could be something as simple as reaching out to them,” Lambert said. “Retention is everyone’s responsibility. Many community college students feel like they’re floating out there on their own. That’s why that connection with faculty members is so important.”

Combining some of these methods will drive up enrollment and increase the chances that a student will succeed in college, Lambert said.

“The challenge is to make every semester better than the one before,” he said. “We can help people get from where they are, to a better place.”

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